Lahore: Pakistani women are slowly coming out of their homes for daily chores.However, barring a few who can drive, most are dependent on a male family member to go about.Women usually go out with their father or brother as families are not comfortable when they go out alone.

Lok Sujag a nonprofit organization has started a project at the Faisalabad Agriculture University to facilitate female studentsto move about on campus using bicycles. Tahir Mehdi a representative of Lok Sujag said, “Ladies ‘On Wheels’” is our new project initiated in Faisalabad Agriculture University. It aims to make the female student body that represents the Pakistani women, independent to go about. Men ride bikes in the country, but ladies often have to walk long distances to reach their destination in the rural and urban areas.”

Mehdi added: “Ladies can be seen riding donkey carts and cars but not on motorbikes or bicycles. It is all about taboos which need to be broken. Pakistan today is at a stage where women need to be made independent too. Ladies should not be dependent on men for commuting or be forced to use congested and unsafe public transport, where they face harassment too. Now is the time to break the fear barriers.”

Tahir continued: “Women in many parts of the world are using bikes and it has nothing to do with religion or culture, it’s just about making life easy for everyone. People in Pakistan need to realize that two wheels are not their enemy. One of the basic reasons a girl has to drop out of school after class five or eight is transport, since schools in villages are limited only to classes below Metric. If girls want to study further they would have to travel to another place, which becomes next to impossible in the families’ limited resources. So it’s time we educate the people to let their girls use bicycles or motorbikes.”

Rizwan who is heading Lok Sujag in Faislabad said, “We are basically trying to break the trends. Lok Sujag had initially started from Faisalabad Agricultural University. We had arranged for trainers from Honda Motorcycle Company to come help girls learn to ride bikes but they did not have to do much of an effort. Soon the university gave girls bicycles too so that they could move from one department to another within the campus. The response was tremendous. Girls were coming forwards to use a bike without any hesitation and many even said that they will start using it in their daily lives. We want to expand this campaign in other areas of Pakistan especially on University campuses too so that girls can become more independent and fulfill their dreams.”